On December 12, 2012, the 12th Nerd Nite-Lawrence will occur. (not at 12:00).

Doors at 7:30, Presentations at 8:00.

Facebook e-vitation here.

The evening will feature three of our past speakers as selected by YOU (well, maybe not all of you internet, but lots of you Nerd Nite-Lawrence fans).


The Sound of Thunder Over Headphones: Ray Bradbury and the Radio by Justin Runge
With Ray Bradbury’s passing earlier this year, the United States lost one of its populist sages and daydreamers, an author able to find nightmares inside our nostalgia and terrific wonder inside the future. His work lent itself perfectly to the radio drama of the mid-century — a massive, electric entertainment that could cause entire communities of listeners to hallucinate the same new, vivid images in the dark. Though Bradbury’s stories and novels live on, his contributions to radio lie barely touched in the quiet archives of the Internet. We’ll dust off these transmissions, and learn more about the medium of radio, the magic it could create in the right hands, and a man of outsized imagination whose fantasies travelled our airwaves like the malevolent winds, mechanical music, and misguided rocketmen of his tales.

Justin Runge is a writer and editor living in Lawrence, Kansas. He first encountered Ray Bradbury as a ten-year old, listening to an audio adaptation of “The Sound of Thunder” on a portable cassette player in the secluded stacks of a public library in Kearney, Nebraska. His favorite Bradbury short story is “There Will Come Soft Rains,” he has fond memories of the Hanna-Barbera version of “The Halloween Tree,” and he doesn’t think Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 is half-bad. Justin presented A Century of Film or: We’ve Spent One Hundred Years Collectively Sitting in Front of Screens Getting Stupider (And Smarter, and Stranger, and Inspired) at Nerd Nite 3.

Spit-Shining the Rust Belt: Transforming a Region from Smokestacks to Tech Startups by Steph Kozak

The Rust Belt is a term used to describe a region of the United States that was hit hard by deindustrialization.  Cities became riddled with depressed downtowns and high unemployment rates.  As manufacturing plants and steel mills began closing in the latter half of the 20th Century, cities in this region scrambled to try and reinvent themselves.  Today, these cities are finding new ways to attract businesses by playing off their hard-knock image and taking advantage of low property rates and an abundant labor force.  This presentation will explore the creative ways in which the Rust Belt is making an economic comeback.

Stephanie is originally from Youngstown, Ohio, an area that fits the mold of a typical Rust Belt city.  Her time there greatly influenced her love for pierogi, trashy neighborhood bars, and the grit and grime of the inner city.  She is currently a PhD student in the Geography Department at KU where she studies urban geography. Stephanie presented Caffeine, Public Showers, and Howling Wolf T-Shirts: Exploring America’s Truck Stops at Nerd Nite 2.

The origins of life: A quick biochemical history by Bryan Smith

My grandfather used to take me to the zoo to see my cousins…in the ape house.  Little did I know at the time how closely we were related, and how we can even claim the strangest insects, fungi, bacteria, and Jersey Shore cast members as our long lost relatives – though we might shy away from them at the family reunion.  All life is interconnected through a few relatively simple molecules.  Indeed, before life started, the chemical building blocks of life were naturally formed on Earth (and elsewhere in the universe).  How might we have arisen from the primordial soup?  It’s either an incredibly bleak view of life, or a grand one.

Bryan grew up in Nebraska near a small town of 100 people.  He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an undergraduate, then earned a PhD in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He now works on writing in the third person and on developing new cancer drugs at a pharmaceutical company in Kansas. He loves the Midwest and is thankful to be here.  He enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, driving a man van, and living in Lawrence even though the traffic is still terrible. Bryan presented The chemistry and biology of meth at Nerd Nite 9.